According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, the following are warning signs of a medical emergency:
- Bleeding that will not stop
- Breathing problems (difficulty breathing, shortness of breath)
- Change in mental status (such as unusual behavior, confusion, difficulty arousing)
- Chest pain
- Coughing up or vomiting blood
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Feeling of committing suicide or murder
- Head or spine injury
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Sudden injury due to a motor vehicle accident, burns or smoke inhalation, near drowning, deep or large wound, etc.
- Sudden, severe pain anywhere in the body
- Sudden dizziness, weakness, or change in vision
- Swallowing a poisonous substance
- Upper abdominal pain or pressure
Here's the thing... I need surgery and I think if I showed up, they would take me right back and cut me open. I'm not afraid or a wuss... I've actually already had this particular surgery twice already in the past 2 years (not to mention the 3 other surgeries I've had in the past 2 years). I meet a couple of the criteria on the list (although not exactly related to the abdominal issue in question).
My question for you... if you can't get an appointment for several weeks with the doctor and there is no Urgent Care (only an ER available)... would you go to the ER? My life is not in danger... I just need medical care and to get a surgery scheduled SOON.
I think that's the kicker. I need it to be actually scheduled. I can't just go get it done. It has to be planned. I need time to line up help for the house and the kids and the puppy... and I need to finish a few orders for work as well. And even taking the time to line it all up.... the appointment... the lab work.... the pharmacy... daunting... the wait can be hours... I can either impose on my friends and feel very very guilty.... or I can take along the 3 screamy ones... Crap.
I want to hear from you - at what point would you go to the ER? Have you ever been to the ER? How long would you wait on an appointment to see a doctor? Do you put off your own medical care because it's just not convenient?